Thursday, January 30, 2020

Snowflakes, Intelligent Design, And Beauty

        One objection to intelligent design theory is the formation of snowflakes. This argument against intelligent design can be articulated in the following manner:

         "The formation of a snowflake is a great example of order coming from randomness, both in terms of gaseous water molecules moving chaotically going to water molecules in a very specific structure, and because the underlying reason for doing that is the second law of thermodynamics, which ultimately is due to energy becoming more randomly distributed."

         First of all, what has been termed the "chaos theory" is simply an account of increasingly elaborate order. There is still some mechanism in the process that our finite minds do not understand.

         Secondly, snowflakes most certainly do have impressive looking structures. However, they are not functional systems with meaningful information. Snowflakes lack the type of complexity that a biological system has.

         Snowflakes are a consequence of the Designer's supernatural act of creation (how He ordered the scientific laws). This would be analogous to human beings creating robots which in turn could work in the manufacturing of vehicles or medical equipment. Intelligence (which requires the existence of a mind) is still involved.

         Design and order are always the result of intelligence. The universe has such characteristics. Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that an Intelligent Mind created our universe. Moreover, some have inferred from beauty itself that God must exist. Peter Kreeft, Professor of Philosophy, articulates this argument as follows:

         "The most common contrary view is aesthetic relativism, commonly heard in slogans like, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” which means, what is beautiful to John is beautiful because he finds it so. Likewise, what is ugly to John is ugly to him because he finds it so. This view is inadequate. If X is beautiful to John because he finds it so, and Y is ugly because John finds it so, then it fails to explain how John could possibly distinguish between the two. How do we account for beauty? The most common answer has been that beauty is a universal, which is instantiated in a number of things (some philosophers would say everything is an instantiation of some degree of beauty), and it is one of the three transcendentals, along with the good and the true. This properly gives us an account for ugliness, for that would be a deprivation, like falsehoods and evils. An argument from beauty may go as follows: symmetry, that’s imitation like kaleidoscopes or round stained glass, is often a great producer of beauty. We recognize beautiful accidental symmetry in nature, like an order of stones on the beach. But what do these random organizations reflect if there is no organization to be had in the first place? Reflections are only as good as the thing they reflect, so the beauty cannot be in the rocks themselves, no matter how many times it multiplies. So there must be a transcending beauty in relation to all creation. Other aspects of beauty that demand explanation is why we find it valuable, why we find its creation valuable, why we find its contemplation and consummation valuable, and why we don’t seem to find any natural sort of ugliness in nature."

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